Genoa restaurant scheduled to re-open in 2020
The shuttered fine-dining establishment that once drew celebrities to Genoa is getting a much-needed makeover.
La Ferme — seating its last customers in October 2015 — was recently purchased by Dan and Lois Wray, the owners of The Pink House, a cheese and charcuterie shop next door. They are gearing up for renovations and anticipate opening a new restaurant for dinner service in April 2020. Architects have been working on the site since September and expect to submit exterior drawings to the Genoa Historic Commission in 2019. While The Pink House is a registered historic landmark which the Wrays have restored, the La Ferme property is not a registered historic site. The purchase by the Wrays, however, reunites the two properties to their original historic parcel.
The restaurant’s original structure is believed to have been built in 1907 by Louis Finnegan as a cottage for his wife, Lillian Virgin Finnegan. Lillian is a notable figure in Genoa history for proposing the idea that became the Genoa Candy Dance in 1919.
La Ferme, formerly owned and operated by Gilles LeGourgue, was moved from Incline to Genoa in 1998. Although the property was vacant when LeGourgue took it over, it had once been home to The Pink House Steak House, a very popular and highly regarded restaurant for locals and visitors.
“La Ferme — which we are calling the Main Street property while we figure out a new name — was once the jewel of the town,” said Lois Wray. “It’s been sorely missed by many and we wanted to bring this special institution back.”
LeGourgue sold the property in 2015 to new owners who intended to develop the property, but when plans changed, they sold it to the Wrays in September 2018.
Lois said they plan to honor LeGourgue with a tribute in the new restaurant. The tribute will depict the significant contribution LeGourgue brought to the town culture.
“We miss having a great restaurant in Genoa,” she said. “We cannot possibly replicate what Gilles and Yves created with La Ferme, but we plan on creating something similar that fills the hole La Ferme has left in our town’s heart. We’re excited to have Yves on board in the new restaurant.”
Yves Gigot, formerly the executive chef at La Ferme, is currently serving as the executive chef at The Pink House until the Main Street property is remodeled. Wray said Gigot is designing his dream kitchen for the new restaurant, as well as assisting in the design of the dining room and lounge.
“The main building and the building known as Gilles’ Menagerie are in serious disrepair,” Wray said, “but in rebuilding it, we intend for it to look and feel much the same as it did before.”
The plan is to salvage as much of the original materials as possible and incorporate them in the new buildings. There will be a few changes, including a larger outside seating area, a larger inside lounge, elevation changes to the parking lot to eliminate water drainage issues, a meandering path to connect The Pink House and the Main Street property, benches for seating along the path, and signs sharing some of the history and fun facts about the property.